Between the Lines: Stop blaming advertising

By threatening mandatory controls on the promotion of junk food to children and curbs on alcohol advertising, Tony Blair stumbles into that familiar trap of laying a wide range of society's problems at advertising's door (page 1).

Pressure on the Government from increasingly sophisticated pressure groups, which cast advertising as a malevolent force, has been getting worse. And Blair is in danger of falling for it.

In doing so, he ignores the blindingly obvious. Children love sweets because they taste nice and hate vegetables because they do not. No amount of advertising will persuade them otherwise.

Children rarely walk to school any more. And schools often cannot offer enough sporting activities to counteract sedentary lifestyles because their playing fields have been sold off.

What's more, it's a bit rich for a Government that sanctioned round-the-clock pub opening to single out alcohol manufacturers, who have largely cleaned up their advertising act, as a major factor in the binge-drinking epidemic.


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